What GOOD Ideas Do You Have?


On December 5th, Good Magazine will host an event
called L.A.
2.0: Refresh, Reinvent and Re-imagine
, which will assemble 25 leading
urban practitioners for an afternoon to identify five key urban strategies to
improve the physical environment in Los Angeles.

I’m pleased to participate in this event and plan to
share some good ideas I’ve learned from many of my sustainability-oriented nonprofit clients,
which have included the L.A. County Bicycle Coalition, Bike Kitchen,
Bikestation, Reconnecting America, Green LA Coalition and many others.

As a facilitator, I often work to brainstorm ideas from groups
I’m working with at retreats.   I’m curious to hear what
GOOD ideas YOU have to improve the physical environment in Los Angeles. 
Bike Boulevards? Transit-Oriented Development? Community Gardens? Taco
Trucks?  Please post your ideas as comments.  I look forward to
reading what you have to say.  Thanks!

  • Camille

    Bike lanes on highways seperated out and protected- not really a lane, but similar to the bike section on nycs bridges

  • Kevin

    A plan for public space (wider sidewalks, pocket parks, and public plazas)

  • Benches! Places to sit and be around other people. Someday when I become rich I want to buy benches to put all around Echo PArk – the book store Stories in EP has one in the front – I love sitting on it and people watching and saying hi to my neighbors

  • sean

    They’re replacing the parking meters with those computerized ATM looking machines. They should design something to adapt the old meters into good bike racks.

    DMV should teach more about the proper way to share the road with all kinds vehicles. Do they teach sharing at all? DMV should sponsor or promote cyclist safety classes.

  • Spokker

    “Do they teach sharing at all?”

    The Driver Handbook has sections on sharing the road with bikes, pedestrians and even light rail. As far as promote, I don’t know. What do they promote anyway?

  • rubber or plastic coated bike racks. The bare metal ones scratch bike frames which which probably keeps some cyclists from using them.

  • yang

    Dedicated bike lanes that cross the city. Take the rightmost lanes on some of our bigger streets, olympic blvd for example. Take away street parking and create a dedicated bike lane.

    Biking will never gain critical mass without real bike lanes and some sort of protection from people who do not understand how dangerous an automobile is.

  • MU

    1. Remove or reduce minimum parking requirements for new construction and business licenses. Parking is one of the largest “invisible” subsidies given to automobiles. Minimum parking rules increase the cost of housing, decrease density, disincentivize building lower cost housing because fewer units can be built on the same lot, discourage transit oriented development, increase road congestion, etc.

    2. Conversely, create minimum standards for bicycle parking & pedestrian access for businesses and residential developments. Currently the city takes on the cost of providing bicycle specific parking.

    3. Remove all fares for public transit. Passenger fares cover only a small percentage of operating costs while “fare enforcement” is a large expense. All residents would benefit from encouraging large numbers of people to switch to transit due to reduced congestion, pollution, road maintenance and expansion. Paid for by raising rates and enforcement times on metered parking. (Which should be done regardless to bring parking fees in line with market rates rather than subsidizing on street parking.)

    3a. Reverse decision to install fare turnstiles on Metro. Increased fare collection is unlikely to bring in much more in fares than the turnstiles and enforcement system will cost. This just taxes system users to pay consultant and non-local system manufacturer fees.

    4. Put arterial roads in Los Angeles that carry less than their stated guidlines on a “road diet” and install bicycle lanes. Roads that are already carry less than their capacity of cars have no valid reason not to be redesigned to carry greater capacity of all vehicle types and thus use the resource more effeciently. (See: http://flyingpigeon-la.com/2009/11/the-fight-to-make-north-figueroa-bike-friendly/)

    5. Make the “Bicycle Bill of Rights” official city policy. No new rights or benefits are included. It is just a clear definition of the rights and responsibilities that cyclists already have under the law. By codifying them, various agencies would be less able to ignore or misinterpret the law.

    6. Implement a “stop as yield” law for Los Angeles like Idaho has successfully implemented.

    7. Prioritize transit, bike, and Ped projects use of federal stimulus and other funds. Regardless of any other benefits from these projects, they have been shown to create and preserve more jobs per $$ spent than road construction projects. This not only increases employment, but improves city finances by boosting various tax collection, reducing social service costs, and keeps more $$ spent local.

    8. Force insurers to offer “pay as you go” or “pay per miles driven” pricing so people who own cars but drive less are not subsidizing insurance rates for those who drive high mileage. This helps remove the incentive to drive your car when you have other options because insurance is no longer a sunk cost.

    Let us know when you’ve got this done and I’ll think of some more ;)

  • Marc

    I would like to propose framing more of the discussion around business and the economy: Now seems like a great time to exploit current anxieties over the economy to get more word out about accessible streets.

    + Better street access for people means more access to business…
    + … more access to businesses means more tax revenue.
    + Building new access-ways means putting peeps back to work. (Which btw, http://bit.ly/57HItF)

  • How about a 1-cent sales tax to end homeless as we know it? would that generate enough money? sure, it’s ‘regressive’, but who cares? we help out other poor people, and make our own lives a lot better in the process — it has direct effects on the quality of our public spaces and mass transit. maybe put a half-cent towards homelessness and a half-cent towards mental health care/drug addiction services.

  • Thanks everyone for your excellent suggestions! I will definately keep all of them in mind as I participate in the GOOD Think Tank on Saturday. If anyone else has any suggestions before Saturday, please post them here and I’ll make sure to look at them.
    Thanks again!
    Ron Milam

  • A river walk. Transforming the L.A. river into a people-friendly destination to walk, sit on benches, and perhaps even have nature or art learning stations along the route. Removing some of the asphalt and replacing it with a more natural environment.

  • I would be all for Peter Smith’s suggestion if it was coupled with reform of homeless and mental health services to being result oriented not empire building for bureacrats and “advocates”. Plus we need to be honest these issues are not a mere matter of money. Project 50 has shown many folks really don’t want to be helped.




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